Home improvement tips - building your own shelves

Home improvement tips - building your own shelves

Hanging up shelves is a chore, but you can make it a little easier by thinking of it as a long-term investment. The more time you spend sorting out your shelves now, the less time you'll have to spend removing piles of odds and ends from the floor when you’re in the middle of selling your house. The simplistic appearance of shelves belies their essential purpose in keeping your possessions organised and uncluttered and even adding to the overall aesthetic of your home.

You can never have enough shelf space, especially if you decide that you need dedicated shelves to keep certain valued possessions separate from others – your collection of Avenger action figures, for example, or your sports trophies from your school days.

In addition to serving a practical function, shelves are also a statement of personal taste, and go hand-in-hand with the collector’s mentality. Many people take pride in putting their prized possessions on display, whether it is a rack of their Blu-Ray and DVD collection, or shelves for their extensive library. And they take even more pride in the display if they've custom-built the shelving units themselves.

The Guardian calls shelf work a “rite of passage” that separates the amateurs from the hardcore when it comes to DIY. With that in mind, here are a few DIY tips for building shelves.

Tools you’ll need:

• A drill. Home Improvements North Wales recommends the Dewallt DCD990M2.

• Measuring tape

• Hammer and nail

• Screwdriver and screws

• Spirit level

• Stud finder (a hand-held device that locates wood and metal framing studs in your wall)

• Shelving material and brackets

Step 1: Find the studs

The studs are located on the inner structure of the wall. You'll need to find them first, as shelves drilled into the wall itself will not be well supported.

How many studs you need depends on how long you want the shelf to be, but you'll want to try to find at least 2 studs. They're usually about 40cm to 60cm (15.7 - 23.6 inches) apart.

Step 2: Mark the holes

Mark the studs with your pencil and draw a horizontal line between two studs. Use the spirit level to make sure the line is straight. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for all of the shelves you intend putting up. You can use the hammer and nail to make a small nail hole in each pencil mark to assist your drilling.

Step 3: Drill the holes

Line up the screw hole of the shelf bracket with the pencil hole marking the stud and drill a 2-inch hole. Repeat this for each stud.

Step 4: Screw in the shelves

Erase your pencil marks and screw the shelves onto the brackets using screws measuring about 1.27cm.

These are the basic principles for installing a simple shelf. As you get more experienced at the task, you can design more creative shelving units, perhaps drawing on some of the inspiring ideas on Buzz Feed Life.

Photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via pic jumbo

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